Leaked documents show top DC police blocked the firing of 21 current officers accused of criminal misconduct, report says.. An internal advisory panel of the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department acquitted or lightly punished 21 current officers accused of criminal misconduct, even though its disciplinary division sought their termination, documents reviewed by Reveal and WAMU/DCist show.
The documents were made public by DDoSecrets, a transparency nonprofit, after hackers accessed them earlier this year. Reveal located the disciplinary records among the tens of thousands that were leaked.
MPD’s Adverse Action Panel is a rotating three-person board made up of high-ranking officers, and is overseen by Robert J. Contee, the current chief of police, Reveal reported.
The panel frequently overruled recommendations from the Disciplinary Review Division, overturning nearly two-thirds of all terminations that were sought from 2016 to 2019, Mike Gottert, who served as the DRD director during that time, told the outlet.
The disciplinary files showed internal investigators concluded at least 64 people who currently serve as officers committed criminal misconduct, 24 of which they sought to terminate. Of the 24 cases, the panel reduced the punishments of 21 officers to a suspension or acquittal, DCist reported.
The criminal misconduct included domestic assault, indecent exposure, stalking, DUIs, assault with a deadly weapon, and fraud, according to Reveal.
Unlike other large police departments, MPD protocol does not allow its police chief to dole out punishments that are more severe than what the panel recommends, leaving its highest-ranking officer with limited options, Reveal reported.
Racial justice protests in 2020 renewed calls for police accountability and reform, including how departments address complaints or misconduct by officers.